What do we mean by that?
Specifically, when we look at sugar intake, teeth brushing practices, and toothpaste, we want to be sure we’re making the correct and moderate choices, since these will ensure healthy adult teeth for your children. Damage to baby teeth can cause children to have dental problems later on in their adult lives, so it’s important to start good dental practices early on.
3 Things Young Teeth Need in Moderation
- Sugar Intake
Eating sugary foods can cause tooth breakdown and decay over time and gives bacteria ample opportunity to multiply within your child’s mouth. Sugar is the main reason that almost half of children under the age of 11 experience tooth decay, and it’s easy to see why: sugar can creep in through not only obvious food items like soft drinks and ice cream, but also through milk, juice, and dried fruit.
It can be tempting to give in to your child’s demands for sugary snacks and candy, especially with Halloween right around the corner, but try to have healthy alternatives for drinks and snacks on hand. Keep an eye out especially for sticky foods.
- Teeth Brushing
Before your baby’s teeth come in, you can gently wipe gums after feedings with a damp, clean washcloth to remove bacteria. Once the first teeth come in, you can still use a washcloth to remove plaque or you can use a soft-bristled baby toothbrush to brush the tooth with a small smear of baby toothpaste.
Be very gentle so you don’t irritate gums and remember that teething is an uncomfortable time, so be careful with your baby’s sensitive gums and mouth. Once your child gets older, you can introduce them to their toothbrush and let them hold it, but stress the importance of thoroughly and patiently brushing their teeth.
There are varying recommendations as to what age is appropriate to start using fluoridated toothpaste, so check with your dentist on this. Remember to use just a small smear of toothpaste for babies and a pea-sized amount for children as they get older. Too much fluoride is not good for children, so monitor them while brushing to be sure they’re not accidentally swallowing or ingesting fluoridated toothpaste.
Remember to start getting your children used to coming to the dentist’s office at an early age. It’s best your dentist establish a relationship with your child so he or she can track progress, give recommendations, and note any important changes. Your child will also benefit by beginning to view the dentist’s office as a safe and welcoming space instead of something to fear. At Chauvin Dental, we hope to see you and your family soon for your regular check up!